ESPN¡¯s MVP Poll debuted Wednesday, with Derek Carr holding the top spot, followed closely by Matt Ryan, Tom Brady and Ezekiel Elliott.
Coming in at No. 5 without a first-place vote is the quarterback of the NFL¡¯s best team, Dak Prescott. Yes, Prescott benefits from Elliott and Dallas¡¯ offensive line, but the case can be made that no player has added more total value this season than the Dallas Cowboys¡¯ signal-caller.
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Let¡¯s begin with the obvious. After Tony Romo went down in the preseason, it looked like another lost season for the Cowboys. As a fourth-round pick, rookie Prescott stepped in seamlessly and has led the Cowboys to an NFL-best 10-1 record, including a single-season franchise-record 10 straight wins heading into Thursday¡¯s matchup with Minnesota.
Although Prescott¡¯s teammates deserve credit for Dallas¡¯ turnaround (more on that later), few quarterbacks have been as efficient and productive as Prescott this season. He leads the NFL in Total QBR, which is now adjusted for opponents faced, and has gained positive expected points added on the second-highest percentage of his plays among NFL QBs.
That’s the thing about this game: Every unsavory aspect of Incognito’s past — from being suspended at Nebraska for his inability to control his temper, to being cut after head-butting two opponents in the first half of a game against the Rams in 2009, to nearly ending his career after the bullying scandal involving Jonathan Martin in Miami — has been weighed against his ability to bring a flinty edge to a huddle. In the NFL, there’s plenty of dirty work to be done, and Incognito has always been an enthusiastic and proficient worker.
Duane Brown Elite Jersey “If he was on the other side, I’d hate him,” Powell says. “But I’d love him at the same time. He’s the type of dude who has a tough-guy side that you need in a locker room.”
It is one of the most uncomfortable truths in a sport that has many: Incognito’s personality, and how it fits into the small-group dynamic of an NFL locker room, is prized because of its rough edges, not in spite of them. The culture creates it, fosters it, rewards and then discards it, never particularly interested in whether it can exist in a world that doesn’t subscribe to the same rules.